Archive for Sustainability

Back to the timeline

Or should I say… back in time (Har har).

Silly jokes aside, I need to make a decision about this timeline… Do I keep it objective, or do I put myself in it?

What I’m trying to do is to put together a timeline that highlights significant environmental, political, social events that have occurred from let’s say the formation of the American Library Association (ALA) in 1876 through to now. The aim of this, is to look at the events that lead up to the concept of a sustainable library (assuming of course, that we know what definition of sustainability we are using, and what a library is).

Here’s what I’ve got so far, and I’m interested to know your thoughts.

Sustainability definition

Trying to determine, from my reading, which concepts/articles/texts should end up being in my literature review or in a background theories section. A concept map is helping, but I’m still a little stuck. Should a definition of sustainability be  background theory? I think it should…. but what if I’m wrong? Self doubt you are a pain.

Thesis Topic

When I submitted my PhD application at UniSA, I had to answer the following questions:

  1. Title of your proposed research project
  2. Proposed research question of problem
  3. Describe the aims of your research
  4. Describe the proposed methodology or plan of action
  5. Explain the significance of your proposed research
  6. List 5 key references relevant to your proposed research
  7. Explain how your previous research/study equips you to undertake the proposed research

1. Title of your proposed research project

An investigation of the extent to which Australian libraries are practicing sustainability

2. Proposed research question of problem

How can sustainability practices be applied within the library? What sustainability initiatives have been implemented to date? What can be learnt from current implementations? What organisational communication models exist in libraries where sustainability initiatives have been implemented? What similarities and differences can be identified between models? What changes have occurred within each organisation to allow for these initiatives to take place? Is there a type of library that is a sustainability leader?  Does this reflect the library’s funding source? Does the library have a social responsibility to be a leader in sustainability?

3. Describe the aims of your research

Developing an understanding of how Australian library staff perceive the concept of sustainability, and how it has successfully been applied in Australian libraries will assist library managers to develop best practice sustainability initiatives. This information can be reported to the Australian Library and Information Association, allowing them to develop research informed policy on sustainability. Identification of skills that are required by staff to implement sustainability initiatives, may highlight gaps in current curricula of  accredited courses and lead to course reviews, resulting in library staff graduating with qualifications that are better suited to organisational needs.

4. Describe the proposed methodology or plan of action

I am planning a mixed methods approach to my research. Initially I hope to conduct a survey of library staff across Australia using an online questionnaire. This will allow me to gain a better understanding of how library workers perceive the concept of sustainability and whether staff think that their organisation has achieved, or is trying to achieve a level of sustainability. This data will indicate which organisations to study in further detail. My aim is to study several organisations by conducting field research to understand how each organisation works, and how the employees of each organisation interrelate.

5. Explain the significance of your proposed research

This research topic is inline with the Australian Research Council’s National Research Priorities one and four; “an environmentally sustainable Australia: transforming existing industries and responding to climate change and variability” as well as “Safeguarding Australia: understanding our region and the world”.

6. List 5 key references relevant to your proposed research

  1. Boyden, L., & Weiner, J. (2000). Sustainable libraries: teaching environmental responsibility to communities. The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, 13(2), 74 – 83. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/08880450010327699. doi:10.1108/08880450010327699
  2. Brown, B., J., Hanson, M., E., Liverman, D., M., & Merideth Jr., R. W. (1987). Global sustainability: Toward definition. Environmental Management, 11(6), 713-719.
  3. Churchman, C. W. (1979). The systems approach and its enemies. New York: Basic Books.
  4. Flannery, T. F. (2008). Now or never : a sustainable future for Australia? Quarterly Essay, (31), 1 – 66. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=336207054405992;res=IELHSS
  5. Heiner, R. (2006). Problems of the environment Social problems: An introduction to critical constructionism (2nd ed., pp. 147 – 182). New York: Oxford University Press.

6. Explain how your previous research/study equips you to undertake the proposed research

My previous study has equipped me with strong skills in the areas of information seeking, an understanding of research methods and critical analysis information sources and results. A distinction average that was achieved whilst working highlights my ability manage my time and achieve my goals.